How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question

Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16934
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
2361900
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Jane Lefler is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

how can i stop my dogs irrational fear of hot air balloons

Resolved Question:

how can i stop my dogs irrational fear of hot air balloons
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

Hi Sir or Madam,

 

How often does your dog come into contact with hot air balloons?

Is he on the ground or are you trying to take him up in one?

How does your dog react to them?

Can you explain the circumstances?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

my dog is on the ground ,walkig or playing in the garden. the balloons pas over several times a day . when he sees one he panics. i have to keep him on the lead because he makes a bolt for home ignoring traffic. im afraid he will get run over. if he is picked up you can feel his heart pounding.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

Ja Customer,

 

In cases like this, your reaction to the situation can make matters even worse than they are initially. Here is something we see pretty often. Something will happen and a dog will startle as a result (say a motorcycle came by). An owner pulled their dog to them and petted them and told them everything was ok and not to worry. The dog's brain sees attention as a reward for the fearful behavior. The next time the motorcycle comes by, the dog startles again and the owner agains repeats the attention. This is positive reinforcement for the unwanted behavior. Now we come to the part where each time a motorcycle comes by the owner anticipates the behavior and starts worrying about how the dog is going to react. The dog in turn picks up the owners fellings and then figures that if his owner is worried about the motorcycle then he should be as well which again reinforces the behavior.

 

I wanted to explain this scenario as your dog's problem may have started in a similar way. The best way of stopping this behavior is to provide positive reinforcement when he doesn't react to them. This also means that you will need to remain calm and not anticipate any particular reaction from your dog as well. I would use paper thin hot dog slices as these are smelly and dogs seem to love them and they are usually a good distraction for a dog.

 

You will want to train your dog to ignore the balloons. Start by sitting outside with your dog on a lead close to you. When you spot the baloons, order your dog to sit and then reward him with the hot dog slices. Your goal is to keep him occupied while the balloons pass over. As long as he is sitting and not bolting, reward him. Dogs are very food oriented and this may keep his mind off the balloons. Remember to keep the slices paper thing so he won't be eating too much hot dog. Practice this a couple of times a day. If he tries to bolt just hold the lead and ignore his behavior. Look at the baloon or the trees or do anything but pay attention to him. Once he is calm again, then you can pay him attention. It shouldn't take him more than a few times before he realizes that he is getting treats when the balloons are there. If you are consistant with the treats, he will start associating the balloons with hot dogs and will come to you when he sees the balloons eventually.

 

You might also try taking him to a place where the balloons are being launched. Seeing the balloons on the ground and going up may also help him get over his fear as well since they will no longer be an unknown item. Over time you should be able to cut down the number of treats substituting praise for good behavior and eventually do away with the treats all together.

 

Of course, if even training doesn't seem to have an effect, medication may need to be prescribed, but if the balloons are around several times a day, that would not be a good solution. I do hope my suggestions are helpful to you and your dog.

Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16934
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
Jane Lefler and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Last | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    4544
    Vet Tech for over 30+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel57/2011-11-8_193134_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst

    Satisfied Customers:

    13847
    Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy's Avatar

    Candy

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    7108
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    4704
    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4430
    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/VetAnswers/2013-4-5_8257_prof10.64x64.jpg Scott Nimmo's Avatar

    Scott Nimmo

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3977
    BVMS, MRCVS.